Abby Engler loves clothes, and with a visual arts degree from the University of Kansas, she brings a discerning eye to her wardrobe.
As one of the top 10 finalists in Top Tank, Engler hopes to share her artistic vision with the city of Topeka through a new clothing store, Local Fox, in Topeka.
As a finalist in the Topeka competition based on ABC’s popular TV show “Shark Tank,” Engler is vying for $100,000 to open a downtown store.
“I’ve always loved clothing,” Engler said. “I designed a clothing line in college, and I want to pursue that.”
Although she would someday love to see her own designs being sold, Engler, 22, plans to launch Local Fox with upscale clothing that will appeal to people in her age range.
She brings several years of experience working in clothing retail to her proposed business.
Engler worked at Lawrence’s Urban Outfitters during college and continues to work there part-time even after graduating and while working full-time for Porter Teleo, a hand-painted wallpaper specialty store in Kansas City.
“I can’t give up the discount,” Engler confided.
Her work at Urban Outfitters also has given Engler marketing skills. She is one of the employees who handles Urban Outfitters’ social media accounts. Being active online is critical, especially in the age group Local Fox will target.
“One of my favorite things is when people buy clothes and then they post about them or what they’re wearing,” she said. “In California, a lot of cafes are making their shops look Instagram worthy, so people come in and take pictures and post them and then everyone goes.”
Engler will focus on trendy designs and tapping into the market of young professionals and students in Topeka.
“Really, everyone I know in Topeka shops out of town,” she said, adding that her goal will be to keep that business in the capital city and, more specifically, downtown. Engler pointed to Lawrence’s Massachusetts Street area, where KU students bring their parents to shop.
“I think it’s really just approaching the college-aged kids, letting them know we’re there, and downtown Topeka can be a fun area to take your parents,” she said.
The price point in Local Fox will be $30 to $200, which she believes Topeka can support.
Engler said her store will look modern and feature Porter Teleo wallpaper.
”The overall vibe of the store will be sleek and up-to-date, but kind of rustic and welcoming,” she said, adding that raw wood and exposed pipes will lend to that atmosphere.
Although comfortable with sales and buying for a clothing store, Engler said she is eager to learn the numbers side of the business. She is used to hard work too.
”I worked two to three jobs throughout college and right now,” she said. “I’m very determined and stubborn, and when someone says I can’t do something, I want to show them that I can and it will be even better than they expected. I feel like I have a very positive attitude.”